The Utah State gymnastics team has named Amy Smith as its next head coach, as announced Monday by Vice President and Director of Athletics John Hartwell. Smith comes to Logan following five season at the University of North Carolina.
Aggie gymnastics had been in flux since previous head coach Nadalie Walsh accepted the same position at the University of Illinois in June. With Smith, the team looks to continue the upward trajectory of the program.
“Utah State is an exciting program on the rise,” Smith said. “Nadalie has done a great job getting the team back to regionals, but I think this team has just scratched the surface of what they are really capable of doing. Besides that, Logan is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. All of which make this a very exciting place to be.”
Smith first began her coaching career in 1997 as an undergraduate assistant coach at UCLA for one year. In 2002, she re-entered the coaching world as a volunteer assistant and choreographer for the University of Florida. While with the Gators, Smith helped choreograph routines for six All-Americans and also served as a volunteer assistant and choreographer for the University of Kentucky.
Following her time at Florida, Smith accepted a position as the assistant coach at the University of Missouri, where she remained through the 2011 season. As team choreographer and balance beam coach, she played an integral role in the university reaching its first-ever NCAA Championship appearance in 2010.
After a one-year stint as an assistant coach at UCLA in 2011, Smith then landed as an assistant coach at UNC before being named the associate head coach in 2014. In 2017, she was named the 2017 EAGL Assistant Coach of the Year.
Smith’s success in gymnastics has not been limited to coaching, however. As a student-athlete at UCLA, Smith led the Bruins to their first NCAA title in 1997, as well as a runner-up finish in 1996, earning All-American honors on floor exercise in 1995 and 1997 as well as on vault in 1997.
“The combination of her experience and success, both as a student-athlete – winning a national championship at UCLA – and as a coach, whether it was at UCLA, Florida, Missouri or North Carolina, clearly in her progression as a coach, she is ready to take over a program of her own,” Hartwell said. “We have a proud and successful tradition within our gymnastics program at Utah State and with her addition, she can take us to new levels of success.”
The Aggies are coming off a season in which they advanced to the NCAA Regional Championships for the fourth year in the row after finishing second in the Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference. For Smith, the goal for USU gymnastics is blatant.
“I want to bring a higher level of competitiveness and consistency to the program,” Smith said. “We will bring back a Mountain Rim Gymnastics Conference championship title to Logan, continue to qualify for regionals and eventually push for a national championship qualification.”
Utah State gymnastics will return to the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in early 2018.